They were the darlings of the Australian music scene in the early ‘90s.
When, after two EPs, Frente released Marvin: The Album they regaled the airwaves with pop treats such as Labour Of Love, Accidently Kelly Street and Ordinary Angels. They were parodied on The Late Show and personally invited by Madonna to be on her Maverick Records label (they passed).
It’s hard to believe that this year is the 21st anniversary of Marvin: The Album, but with it has come a commemorative release and a national tour. For vocalist, Angie Hart, it’s surreal.
“It’s everything,” she laughs. “Music is so evocative anyway, if you have memories tied to it. So playing the songs and going through the memorabilia, it brings up a lot of stuff that you can’t avoid… good and bad!
“Then there’s the reaction from the crowd as well. Which, I don’t know why, the first night we played I hadn’t factored that in. It was so rewarding, but it also brought up a lot of emotion.”
People do carry songs with them. For a songwriter it must be nice to realise that it meant enough to people then, that it means something now…
“Yeah and now with social media it’s a whole different thing for Frente,” Hart says, “hearing about people’s experiences later as well. These experiences that they’ve carried around with them, we get to hear about that.
“And not just by snail mail as well (laughs). You can have an ongoing conversation. I used to get fan mail and you’d write one letter back and that was it! So, gone are those days… I really enjoy the back and forth with people. None of it’s gotten weird or anything.
“On the flipside, if we’d had social media at the time Frente left Australia to go overseas and do all this other stuff, people would have known what it was that we were doing over there. Which would have been really great, because we kind of just disappeared (laughs).”
Frente broke up in 1996, following a long US tour, which failed to break their excellent second album, Shape. Hart went on to write and sing for Splendid, Holidays On Ice and Four Hours Sleep, as well as solo work and on numerous collaborations. While this tour provides some closure in regards to Frente, she had at times distanced herself from it over the years.
“Absolutely. And that’s been a gradual thing, you go in stages with that kind of stuff. It’s only just recently that I’ve come to a… you can never be neutral, really, but definitely all that stuff that I’ve needed to sort out and separate my own craft, the way I write songs and how I present myself… I feel like that’s come to mature with age, if that makes sense. So now going into Frente, a lot of those desires and ambitions are settled. I feel comfortable being in it.”
Have you let your guard down a little?
“There’s a lot of compassion involved in looking at yourself in that younger way,” Hart says. “Simon (Austin, founder/guitarist) and I have both been talking recently about how we have that perspective now, to look at ourselves as not the people that we are now, but too look back an go, ‘yeah, that’s what I was like then’. It’s separate.”
But while the word ‘closure’ has been used, Hart’s open to the idea of Frente recording new material. The magic is back.
“It’s all about being enjoyable, otherwise what’s the point?” she opines. “If Simon and I aren’t getting along then there’s no point in that either. And if the songs aren’t happening, then there’s no point in that. “But I feel that having done everything else, there’s a magic to those songs that isn’t in anything else. He and I don’t create those things separately. It’s a very enticing field to want to go back into, because we do create some sort of a mystery between the two us. Something happens which we can’t put our finger on… and that’s fun.”